Homeland, in its third season, has a lot to prove. Season one was a great, intense, thought provoking season. The sophomore effort was less desirable, as it projected too much of a ‘24’ feel. However, it did redeem itself enough in the finale. Now, as the manhunt for Brody commences, we can only ask that they keep the writing and plot grounded in a raw reality.
A committee investigating the Langley bombing is grilling Carrie, as Saul struggles with decisions that range from CIA work to home life. On the civilian side of this affair is Brody’s family, struggling with the new spotlight that has been forced upon them.
Carrie, once again off her medication, believes that Brody was framed and has made it her own personal mission to find the true masterminds. She admits that Abu Nazir outsmarted her and will not forgive herself for the 219 people who died in the bombing that she believes is her own fault. Saul, now head of the CIA, is dealing with a rocky relationship at home, while balancing the questions of who to hunt at work. It was very disconcerting to watch him overlook the monitors as his plan is executed. Saul ordered the death of the ‘easy targets’, going against what he believes in. Visually, his nervous habit of playing with his wedding ring was very appropriate in this episode. Mandy Patinkin brings such a rich internal life to his character. Additionally, somebody is leaking CIA files to the press and council, which included Carrie’s private relationship with Brody, is released. The episode ends with Saul throwing Carrie under the bus at his own hearing in an attempt to protect the agency. All very interesting plot developments, but not the most engaging in the hour.
That distinction belongs to the Brody family trying to pick up the pieces of their broken home. Dana’s off screen suicide attempt and that affect on the family, coupled with their financial troubles ,is a great juxtaposition to the CIA sequences. How will they rebuild their family? How far will Dana continue to act out? Can her mom and grandma successfully run and essentially fix them all? Will the paparazzi and media break them before they tear themselves apart? This is the story line I am most interested in seeing played out, as we can relate to their home life shake up on a real level.
In this episode, home life corresponds with the professional world in a way that most shows could never pull off. The lack of hope, the overpowering feeling of fear, and overall indecisive nature of all the characters infuses itself into the story telling. Pitting Carrie against the CIA again is old hat, but now without Saul on her side, the dynamic should be interesting. I don’t know if I agree with the direction they are taking with this, but I am willing to go along for the ride. Carrie has a new obstacle and may be drawn to Brody even more in this trying time.
Some Other Thoughts:
- Keeping Brody off screen was much appreciated. It’s always nice to see how somebody affects others with out their presence immediately felt.
- F. Murray Abraham and Mandy Patinkin on screen together is pure gold!
- Who is this, “The Magician?” It sounds like a bad guy on Dexter.
- I really don’t care about Peter Quinn and the misdirection at the beginning of the episode was pointless.
- How many children are going to die on this show to make a character second-guess their motives?
- Mandy, your beard still impresses.
Keep on Watchin’!